PARIS, June 3 (UPI) -- A lecturer at a French school writes in a new book on Smurfs the cuddly blue cartoon characters are anti-Semitic and racist.
Antoine Bueno's "critical and political analysis of Smurf society" in his "Little Blue Book" breaks down the world of the Smurfs (Schtroumpfs in French), beginning with their creation in 1958 by Belgian Thierry Culliford, known as Peyo.
Bueno, 33, alleges the Smurfs symbolize an "archetype of totalitarian society imbued with Stalinism and Nazism," citing Peyo's first representation of them in his 1963 book, "The Black Smurfs" -- written in French and translated in English to "The Purple Smurfs" to avoid allegations of racism, Britain's The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
In that story, a blue Smurf gets stung by a black fly, making his skin turn black, driving him insane and depriving him of normal speech.
"They are reduced to the state of primitives who get around by jumping and crying: 'Gnap! Gnap!' They lose all trace of intelligence and become completely moronic," Bueno said.
"It's roughly the way Africans were viewed by white colonizers in the 19th century."
Bueno claims the wizard Gargamel comes across as a classic anti-Semitic caricature of the money-grabbing Jew.
"Gargamel is ugly, dirty, with a hooked nose [who] is fascinated by gold."
Smurf aficionados have responded to Bueno's contentions with Internet fury, the Telegraph said.
"What a disgrace to soil the legends of our childhood," wrote Bibouille on the "Schtroumpfmania" Web site.